Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Country Clubbing It

I had a sort of funny flashback the other day to my job the summer before I went to college.  I worked at a country club in a halfway house on the back nine of the golf course (for non-golfers, "halfway houses" are located between the two nines so golfers can get food and drinks before playing the next half). 

There were three posts I could've had with the job: the pool (which was air conditioned, but gross because it was a tiny space with a deep fryer and was constantly packed with customers); the snack building on the front nine of the golf course (which was the same concept as my halfway house, but much more busy and more closely monitored by our awful boss); or my halfway house.  Because our mean, awful, terrible person boss actually really, really liked me, she let me choose where I wanted to be, and it was always on the back nine.

The halfway house on the back nine was awesome for many reasons:
1) I got to work with my friend Mike;
2) We were located really far away from everyone else, so a) the boss came out to see us less often, b) we had a nice long drive in and out on our golf cart everyday, and c) when anyone would drive out, we could see them coming (so if it was the boss, we had some time to clean everything up really quick before she arrived);
3) We were in this gorgeous setting - tons of beautiful, old trees and rolling hills; and
4) It was never hectic busy (because we would essentially only serve one foursome at a time as they played through).

It was also un-awesome in many ways:
1) It wasn't air conditioned...think about that for a second;
2) Because it was out in the woods, we occasionally had some critters "visiting" us and eating inventory; and
3) If it started to rain (and the course closed), we had a long, wet drive back to the clubhouse.

One sort of funny aspect of the whole thing was that our job was to make food for other people, but we were really restricted on what we could eat.  Each day, every employee was allowed a sandwich, one soda, and a bag of chips or a sweet snack treat (we had prepackaged cookies, candies, stuff like that).  Nothing else.  Well, we learned ways you could cheat the system a little...

1) Bread wasn't counted in inventory, so you could have that in unlimited amounts.
2) Cheese wasn't counted in inventory, so you could have that.
3) If you put 1 & 2 together, you could cook grilled cheese on the grill as a freebie.
4) Chicken salad and tuna salad were measured in a really loose way, so as long as you had a couple customers order some everyday, you could eat a bit yourself and just claim you "must have made those sandwiches too big."
5) Iced tea wasn't counted.
6) Coffee and creamer weren't counted - in fact, I think I drank more iced coffees that summer than I've ever drank any other time in my life.
7) At the end of the day, you threw out food that didn't get eaten (awful - I know).  Well, one thing we would do so that food would be ready when people came through was cook a few grilled items (like chicken breasts, hamburgers, hot dogs, brats, etc.) and put them in a warming container so they'd be ready.  Well, at the end of the day, if you really wanted, say, a hamburger for dinner, you could cook one at the end of your shift, put it in the warmer, and then just tell the boss that you had cooked one and no one bought it (then you could eat it as you were closing down).

Because we hated our boss so much, we loved eating more than we were supposed to, since it felt sort of subversive towards her.  We would also do things like race in our golf carts when no one was around; drive our golf carts up to this hill where we could lie in the sun, but still see down the hill if the boss was coming (and then haul it back to the snack shop if she was); read books and magazines; and time each other doing little obstacle-type courses.

I remember the summer sort of fondly.  But I know at the time I absolutely hated it.  The heat was unbelievably oppressive (it was a tiny little building and there was a huge grill that was on all day) and the boss (I know I've said this 100x), but she was an awful human being.  She'd yell at everyone all the time; she'd try to catch people doing stuff they weren't supposed to so she could yell at them; she'd get sort of aggressive in her rage - like, if when loading new drinks into the fridge, you didn't put the new ones in the back and she caught you in the act, she'd be known to throw them onto the ground or kick them around while screaming at you. 

I remember one time, it was the end of the day and the phone rang in my hut.  It was the girl who worked at the other halfway house and she was asking for the boss.  I said, "what do you mean, she's not out here?"  And the girl was like, "PLEASE, please don't tell her I called - but just so you know, she's coming around to check on you to make sure you're doing everything you're supposed to - but PLEASE, I'm begging you, don't tell her I called looking for her!"  The girl was just terrified because I'm sure when the boss left her halfway house and said she was coming to mine, she must've instilled some awful fear like "don't you DARE tell anyone I'm coming to check on them right now OR ELSE."

Oh summer jobs when you're 18...  Life was so different back then.  Did you guys have any fun ones, or is it pretty much accepted across the board that if you're 18, your job is going to suck?

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